LyondellBasell to build world’s largest PO/TBA plant in Texas

Nov. 20, 2015

It will have an annual production capacity of 1 billion pounds of PO and 2 billion pounds of TBA.

Plastics, chemicals and refining company LyondellBasell said on Thursday that it is moving forward with plans to build the world’s largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the Houston area.

The project was first announced last year, but a location was still to be determined.

Now the company says it plans to build the PO/TBA plant at its complex in Channelview, Texas. It will have an annual production capacity of 1 billion pounds of PO and 2 billion pounds of TBA.

A separate ethers unit for producing oxy-fuels for high octane gasoline will be built at the company’s Bayport Choate site near Pasadena, Texas.

“We are moving forward in a deliberate fashion to develop what could become the single largest capital investment in LyondellBasell’s history,” CEO Bob Patel said in a statement. “We continue to believe that the combination of low-cost natural gas liquids available on the U.S. Gulf Coast, along with our leading proprietary PO/TBA technology, will allow this proposed project to capture maximum advantage of market opportunities.”

The plant will sell PO globally to meet growing demand for polyurethanes, which are used to make bedding, furniture, carpets and car seats. TBA and its derivatives, which include oxy-fuels, will be sold to meet the need for high-octane gasoline blending components, as well as for use in manufacturing synthetic rubber and lubricant additives.

LyondellBasell is preparing to start front-end engineering design work and to file environmental permit applications. This phase of the project will also include funding to order long lead-time equipment.

The company expects to make a final investment decision after completion of the engineering design work.